Google Mandates Employees Get COVID-19 Vaccine, Delays Return To Office

Google will roll out a policy requiring all employees to get vaccinated before returning to one of its campuses, in a move that seems counterintuitive to its free-wheeling culture.

The company is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

An email sent Wednesday to Google’s more than 130,000 employees from CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning October 18, rather than September 1.

The vaccine mandate in each country will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location worldwide.

The decision also affects thousands of contractors that Google continues to employ. It also sets a precedence for other companies like Facebook and Microsoft.

Google is the first search tech-related company to insist that its employees get vaccinated before returning to the office. But the sentiment isn not unusual as the Delta variant and public vaccine resistance continue to ignite debates over mandates.

How to handle the 30% or so of adults who have not been vaccinated has taken on an urgency as the Delta variant spreads and the U.S. heads toward flu season, The Wall Street Journal reports.

U.S. hospitalizations have doubled in a month and tripled in California, where some 78% of adults have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the WSJ.  California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday mandated shots for hospital, nursing home and state workers. Those who refuse must be tested at least once a week, which makes the order less compulsory. New York City now requires city workers to get vaccinated, and many private hospitals like the Mayo Clinic and the Houston Methodist, have announced mandates.

President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Thursday a requirement that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated against COVID-19, or be required to submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements, according to several reports.

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